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Exclusive: Sandra Diaz-Twine talks 'Survivor: Game Changers' experience (Part 1)


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/07/2017 

Sandra Diaz-Twine was eliminated from Survivor: Game Changers after Season 34's third tribal swap during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.

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Sandra's new Nuku tribe voted her out of the game on Night 16 following the swap that left her with Jeff Varner, Zeke Smith, Andrea Boehlke, Ozzy Lusth, Sarah Lacina, and Tai Trang. Sandra and Varner voted for Tai, but the other five castaways voted to oust the 41-year-old from Fayetteville, NC, from Survivor: Game Changers.

Sandra, who previously won Survivor: Pearl Islands as well as Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, was the sixth person voted out of the game. Survivor host Jeff Probst joked, however, how he was snuffing her torch for the first time in 94 days.

During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Sandra talked about her Survivor: Game Changers experience. Below is the first half of what she had to say.

Reality TV World: I'm sorry you couldn't make Survivor your No. 3 win!

Sandra Diaz-Twine: Oh, me too! (Laughs) I would've loved another million dollars!

Reality TV World: Tai threw Ozzy's name out at Tribal Council, but Varner and yourself obviously voted for Tai, so you must've been confident the Ozzy vote wasn't going to happen. Why and when did the Ozzy plan fizzle?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: Well, when I got over there after talking to the group, I actually pulled Ozzy aside and I said, "Ozzy, listen, I want to offer you the type of alliance I had with [Malcolm Freberg]," where if he protected me from the beginning, and I made the merge, I would protect him when he needed it, especially being such a physical player. He would need me!

So, "You take care of me now and I will turn around and [take care of you later]," and he was buying it. And I was being honest with him in a sense, like, "They all love you now -- they're all smiling and giggling and things, like, 'Ozzy is the greatest!' But when you're by yourself, Ozzy, they're going to come after you."

So when we went to that Tribal Council, I had already told Ozzy -- Ozzy was like, "Don't worry about it. You're going to be good," but of course he was playing me. I didn't know they had been plotting against me that hard. Little old me! Why would you want to get rid of me? I'm an asset if anything, not a liability.

So anyway, we get to that Tribal Council and then Tai starts talking and whispering, and then I figured, "Ozzy is in trouble." And Tai kept grabbing onto his pocket, like he had a big rock or shell or maybe an Immunity Idol in there.

And I perceived it when I got voted off, and I said it in my exit interviews that I needed to see it on TV because I honestly believed that Ozzy was fearful of Tai and any idol Tai might potentially have, because if Tai was true to his word and would, you know, write down Ozzy's name and used his idol, then Ozzy would be the one going home.

So they just stuck to the plan after Zeke spoke to Tai: "Tai, whom do you trust? Let's stick to the plan." So Tai stuck to his plan, didn't play his idol, but I kind of had a feeling I was going home, but I still had hope. I still had hope that what Ozzy said, and what I told him, got in his big skull and he considered it and said, "Okay."

Because I said, "Ozzy, I'll do anything you want. You throw out a name and I'll write it down. I won't question anything. We don't have to have a conversation about it. You let me know what you want and I will do it for you." So that's what I thought was going to go down, but it ended up being me.

Reality TV World: Did you ever consider going after anyone other than Tai? Because while Tai was the obvious target choice for you, he was on the bottom of the majority alliance and would've been the easiest person to flip. So was it because you figured that even if you got Tai ony our side, you'd have to convince one of the other four people to flip and that wouldn't happen?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: No, I really didn't think that far ahead only because I didn't want to work with Tai, and Tai was in that Kaoh Rong Four [Tai, Aubry Bracco, Debbie Wanner and Caleb Reynolds] I was after from Day 1.

So I never had too much of a conversation with Tai out there to begin with, much less a lot of times I couldn't even understand what he was saying and I didn't want to be like, "Huh, what? Repeat that." So I didn't really have too many words with Tai.

I just spoke with Sarah, with Andrea and Zeke and Ozzy. But Ozzy was the one I tried to really [work on], like, "Ozzy, you want me in your pocket. You want me as your ally." And I was offering that to him, and only him and no one else. So I didn't really try to do too much because they all assured me that I was safe, and I took that at face value.

But at the end of the day, I don't think I could've done -- you can dissect it a million ways -- but I don't think I could've done anything different other than I picked the wrong crappy buff at that tribal swap. That was it. That's what did me in. Nothing else. They were coming after me hard from Day 1.

Sarah told me to my face, "Gosh, I can't believe you've made it," you know, like actually saying, "How have you gone to so many Tribal Councils and you're still here?" That to me right there was very telling. And I knew like, "This is it for me. They're coming after me. They're not going to let me keep going in this thing."

Reality TV World: Did you suspect Tai had a hidden Immunity Idol going into Tribal Council or did you just suspect it when you saw something bulging in his pocket at Tribal?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: I wasn't certain, but when someone grabs at something so much, or they have a nervous twitch, they have something. So it could've gone either way. I didn't think too much about it. I just saw really that he feared Ozzy more than anything.

So being that Tai has a history of finding idols and he found the one when Malcolm went home and says, "[Jeff Probst], I found this 15 minutes before coming to Tribal Council." This dude is so lucky to be finding these idols! So, I didn't think too much about it, because if he did find an idol, he had already played it.

But you never know. So I really didn't give it much thought, if that makes sense. People ask me, "Why didn't you do this," or, "Why didn't you do that?" But you have to really be there and assess the situation to know what can and cannot be done.

Reality TV World: Tai had two idols and was clearly paranoid and worried about being a target at Tribal Council, especially after Sarah announced her alliance was tossing "a few names" around for the vote. Do you have any idea why Tai opted out of playing one of his idols? Do you have any insight into why Tai suddenly felt so confident he was staying?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: Because of what Zeke told him. Zeke was like, "Tai, who do you trust? We've already put this plan into motion. Just stick to it." Tai was always off with the chickens and feeding the chickens and doing stuff around camp. I think Tai pretty much does whatever the tribe tells him to do.

He really doesn't sit there and plot and scheme, like he says he doesn't do. He's just there to feed the chickens I guess, I don't know. I don't give Tai's game too much thought. I definitely didn't see him as someone who I needed to align myself with or anything like that. He was just there temporarily, and that was it.

Reality TV World: So do you think Tai was set on voting out Ozzy but then Zeke's confrontation about trust was the turning point?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: Yes, yes. But Tai talking about Ozzy was definitely an eye-opener for Ozzy, and I was hoping that it would scare Ozzy enough to think, "Okay, I'm going to consider what Sandra is saying because he is blatantly putting my name out there at Tribal Council."

Reality TV World: Varner was pretty convinced the majority was voting for Tai, but you just weren't buying it. Why was that? Did you have a gut feeling just because you thought it would be stupid for them not to target you, or were you picking up on attitudes and behavior at camp that led you to believe you were the target?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: No, it's more or less like if they would've wanted to get rid of somebody [in particular], now would be the opportunity. After the fact, I actually found out that they threw the challenge so that they could get me out and also save their alliance members on the other side who were outnumbered by [Troy "Troyzan" Robertson], [Hali Ford], [Michaela Bradshaw] and [Aubry Bracco].

So it was a win-win for them -- lose the challenge and get rid of Sandra: "She's been here one day too many. She's already been here [too long]. She should've been gone at the first Tribal Council, but she wasn't." So it was either they were going to get rid of me, or they were going to be truthful, and the only way to know that is to actually go to Tribal Council.

I wish we hadn't lost that challenge, but with me and Varner pulling the rope, from what I understand, they really weren't pulling and they didn't want to get to the mat and they didn't want anyone getting nowhere near the puzzle until the other tribe won.

Reality TV World: Did you also get the impression your tribe might be throwing the Immunity Challenge in the middle of it?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: No, I found out after the fact. I actually had to laugh about it, like of all the ways you could get rid of me, why throw a challenge? Like, really? Are you that fearful of me, especially me at a challenge? Like come on! But, you know, they were just scared of me.

Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Sandra Diaz-Twine.



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